Paeonia Season

photo-70 Is there anything so lovely as a peony in May? I live in a 100 year old house and have several peony bushes. They were at the height of popularity 100 years ago. There are numerous species of Paeonia. The plant originated in China but is firmly established here in the U.S. these days. These gorgeous blossoms have been around for over a thousand years.

Ants are attracted to their nectar and help the flowers bloom.  Some sources say they don’t require ants to bloom, but my dad once sprayed his peonies and they didn’t bloom that year. So don’t spray them.

Like all plants, peonies create a host of molecules that would be very difficult to make in the lab. According to Takayuki Shibamoto and co-workers, peony compounds are effective against Helicobacter pylori, a dangerous bacteria. Yellow flowers from tree peonies can enhance skin flexibility and are rich in vitamins, and anti-oxidants. 

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Peonies are true northerners, requiring “chilling time” before blooming. We can think of them as our reward for those cold winter nights when it seemed as if the bleakness would last forever.

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